This past week I discovered twitter chat. I am using it in one of my graduate classes and I must say that I really enjoyed the experience. Our first chat was centered around the subject of #digitaltools.
It was amazing how much I was able to take in during the course of an hour! There are so many more tools out there than I ever had imagined. I left feeling eagerly excited to try out some new things and yet slightly overwhelmed at how much there is available and how much I am not already using in my classroom.
It is my hope with this post to point you to some resources that I have tried before and explain what I found through their use as well as to challenge myself by identifying some digital tools that I want to try before the end of the semester.
Digital Tools I Have Used in the Classroom
- How I’ve used it: students have assigned times during reader’s workshop to read digital books on raz kids. They can listen to books, read books, and answer questions on what they’ve read. This program is also something that they can do at home with their parents and is a great tool if you do not have an extensive leveled classroom library.
- Pros: great resource for leveled books, kids are usually very engaged, teacher can set levels specifically for each student
- Cons: must have a paid subscription to access, parents and students are able to see the entire class which does not protect students’ privacy with levels
- How I’ve used it: students made persuasive advertisement on products they created as a team to practice their persuasive writing. Several other classes as well as some faculty and administration then voted on the most persuasive advertisement.
- Pros: more fun looking presentation than a simple powerpoint, kids really get into the project and learn how to work in teams if you design requires such, has its own search engine for pictures, can easily be shared with friends and family
- Cons: takes a bit of familiarity to become proficient (I had to provide my first graders with a lot of assistance), can make people feel dizzy with the way it moves around the screen
- Here is a list of Prezi’s that my kids created 2 years ago:
- Create-O Bot http://prezi.com/wy6mqw02thdr/create-o-bot/?kw=view-wy6mqw02thdr&rc=ref-39251545
- The Party Flying House http://prezi.com/stm8z5xn-d_3/the-party-flying-house/?kw=view-stm8z5xn-d_3&rc=ref-39251545
- Bow Wow Portow http://prezi.com/fxoghr5zrcon/bow-wow-portow/?kw=view-fxoghr5zrcon&rc=ref-39251545
- P’Cotton P’Cool http://prezi.com/ykwfiw-qprkj/pcotton-pcool/?kw=view-ykwfiw-qprkj&rc=ref-39251545
- Rainbow Horse http://prezi.com/a3quhqqfa21r/rainbow-horse/?kw=view-a3quhqqfa21r&rc=ref-39251545
- How I’ve used it: Sporcle is a site that offers quizzes that are either premade or that you can make yourself; I’ve used it as a pre- and post-assessment with students on different topics.
- Pros: offers many quizzes that are already made, allows you to tailor quizzes to anything you are studying
- Cons: has a lot of advertisements that could be distracting
Tools I Can’t Wait to Try!
Apple TV – this year I have been frustrated with the glare and poor image quality that occurs when I try to use a document camera to display what is on my ipad or an ipod in class. A classmate told me that you can use apple TV with your smartboard and suddenly those problems are solved! I can’t wait to get one for myself to try out!
Storybird – this is a free site that allows students to write books or poetry using the beautiful illustrations provided. Student are also able to read others’ digital stories. Here is a look at using storybird in the classroom: https://storybird.com/teachers/.
ReadWorks – as a first grade teacher, I am always looking for more access to different texts. I am going to investigate read works as a source of nonfiction and literary texts to help develop my students’ accuracy, fluency and comprehension skills.
App of the Week – “Moon”
I wanted to share with you this app that a coworker told me about and that I tried with my kids this past week during our unit on sun, moon, and stars. It is called “moon” and is totally free! The amazing thing about this app is that is allows you to see what the moon looks like. Additionally, unlike many moon apps, this one allows you to go back in time or ahead in the figure to see what the moon looked/will look like on any given date. We traveled back to the first day of school, to the days my kids were born, and even back 25 years ago to the day I entered the world! Many of my students were so excited about this app that they asked if I could email their parents the details so that they could try it out at home. What really made me excited, however, was when a few days later, one of my students asked if she could talk about this app in her writing comparing when she was little and now. Nothing makes a teacher more happy than when a student makes a connection between what they are learning in science and their work in literacy! This app is definitely one worth trying out!
Enjoy exploring! Hope you all find just the right tool for your class this week! ~Mrs. L